Only about 2.8 million Americans had received a COVID-19 vaccine going into the last day of December, putting the United States far short of the government's target to vaccinate 20 million people this month. read more
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* British doctors have said a government decision to delay giving a coronavirus vaccine booster shot to vulnerable patients who have already had a first dose will be distressing and disruptive, their trade union said.
* About 4,000 additional positive tests for COVID-19 in the last two to three days have yet to be formally confirmed in Ireland, meaning the situation is worse than recent record daily figures suggest, a senior health official. read more
* All travellers entering Norway will have to take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival from Jan. 2, the country's justice ministry said. read more
* A Brazilian lab said it has detected two cases of the new coronavirus variant that has spread rapidly in Britain, and urged reinforcement of quarantine measures for travelers coming from Europe. read more
* New York City aims to vaccinate 1 million residents against the coronavirus by the end of January 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
* The leading U.S. infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he foresees America achieving enough collective COVID-19 immunity through vaccinations to regain "some semblance of normality" by autumn 2021. read more
* The COVID-19 vaccine developed jointly by AstraZeneca and Oxford University was approved for use in El Salvador. read more
* China has detected its first imported case of the new coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly around Britain, according to a publication run by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
* Pakistan will purchase 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from China's Sinopharm.
* A province of islands in the southern Philippines will seal itself off for an initial two weeks from Monday to keep out a new COVID-19 variant found in nearby Malaysia. read more
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Israel is carefully husbanding supplies as it races to vaccinate all vulnerable citizens by late January and push for an early exit from the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
* South Africa will have a firm date on when it will get COVID-19 vaccine in the first few days of January, a senior health ministry official told a television news channel. read more
* A vaccine developed by a unit of China National Biotec Group (CNBG) is 79.34% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 and the company has filed an application for regulatory approval in China for its general public use.
* A new variant of the novel coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe illness than other variants, according to a matched study by Public Health England. read more
* The S&P 500 reversed course and turned positive on Thursday and the dollar advanced as investors prepared to close the book on a turbulent year of pandemic, recession and recovery. MKTS/GLOB
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